Sunday, 7 November 2010

"Kairos" and the universality of Christ

A central Christian doctrine is the universality of Jesus' death and resurrection and Lordship. This means that the spiritual needs of all people—whether they originate from Europe, India, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, PNG or Japan—can be fulfilled by following Jesus. Simeon, speaking over the newborn Jesus: "A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel" (Luke 2:32 NKJV). Jesus himself: "If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all peoples to Myself" (John 12:32 NKJV).

Revolutionary stuff, particularly in this age of post-modern thought and the promotion of pluralism and tolerance. In actual fact, however, the above admission of the universal sufficiency of Christ can promote a love for others that is far greater and deeper than a live-and-let-live tolerance of those differences.

Modern mission training recognises the beauty and significance of different cultures and promotes the understanding of different cultures by all Christians. It also maintains that Christ should be seen as the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of each culture, on the premise that every culture has legends, beliefs and traditions that point to the one true God. Examples of these can be found in Don Richardson's very interesting and inspiring book "Eternity in Their Hearts". Finally, current teaching on cross-cultural mission warns against the danger of confusing cultural tendencies with Christian truth, and encourages the moulding of methods of proclamation and forms of worship (NB: NOT core doctrine) to the pattern of what is natural, acceptable and God-glorifying in the culture being reached.

Recently, I participated in the Kairos course, which was developed by Living Springs International and is being run in about 50 countries throughout the world. Its emphasis is on the cross-cultural proclamation of Jesus' death and resurrection and the implications of this event for the lives of those who decide to follow Him. It is a great course and well worth doing if you have the chance. A particular highlight of the course was the video by J. Edwin Orr on the role of prayer in spiritual awakening.

Other useful internet resources for those interested in cross-cultural mission include the Joshua Project, and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

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